Malaysia Escorted Tours
Currency: Malaysian Ringgit
Time Zone: MYT/GMT+7
Tipping: In Malaysia tipping isn’t common practice, in a restaurant a 10% service charge will be added to your bill, however if you are feeling generous you can of course leave a tip.
Malaysia - an Introduction
Malaysia is a land of contrasts. It's a country where East meets West, where glittering skyscrapers are neighbours with houses on stilts and where wildlife laden jungle competes with city life. Even the country is split over two islands, consisting of Peninsula Malaysia and East Malaysia, which is situated on the island of Borneo.
For all its contrasts, one thing about Malaysia is unanimous – visitors love it, from its great food to its great people. Escorted tours to Malaysia will pick out some of the country's highlights, from the island of Penang with its UNESCO World Heritage listed Georgetown, mysterious temples and palm-clad beaches, to the thronging capital of Kuala Lumpar with its soaring twin Petronas Towers.
Due to its location between Thailand and Singapore, Malaysia is often incorporated with its neighbours as part of a longer touring holiday to allow visitors to fully appreciate this part of the world in one go. As well as any internal flights, tours contain an array of different travel methods to help you see the most of this country. The Express Sinaran Seletan train from Kuala Lumpur to Singapore is one example, which travels through Malaysia's palm and tree plantations. Return flights from the UK, accommodation and meals, an exciting touring programme complete with tour and local guides and excursions are also included.
Things to do
When visiting Malaysia there are a great number of things to do and see, here are just a few:
No visit to Malaysia would be complete without a visit to its capital known affectionately as KL. Stand in awe as you marvel the awesome skyscrapers that dominate the Malaysian skyline, the Petronas Towers and if you fancy spectacular views, go inside and climb to the Observation Deck or Skybridge where you will be rewarded. Tuck into traditional cuisines from mamak restaurants, admire the variety of mosques and temples in Chinatown, haggle with the locals in the Petaling Street Market or if you're feeling energetic, climb the 272 steps to the Batu Caves!
Kinabalu National Park
The biggest attraction here is Mount Kinabalu that towers above the tropical forests of Borneo and just happens to be the tallest mountain in the country but one you can climb without having to have any specialist mountaineering skills – although it can be dangerous in bad weather. The majority of people who visit Kinabalu, climb to the top of Low's Peak. For those who do not wish to climb, there are plenty of walking trails to follow and beautiful gardens to explore in addition to the jungle and Botanical Gardens.
Offers awesome scenery, fantastic walking trails and the indigenous Kelabit people. Most people tend to opt for trekking between longhouses on mountain trails and admiring the beautiful variety of flora and fauna that can be found during these treks.
A beautiful island off the north west coast of the Malaysia Peninsular is known worldwide as the best place to visit for exceptional food that combines influences from a variety of different countries including Malay. Visit the capital Georgetown as it is a UNESCO World Heritage Site housing a variety of churches, temples and mosques dating back to the 19th century. Sunbathe on Batu Ferringhi and relax on its white sandy beaches. Visit the tiny fishing village of Teluk Bahang. Conclude your trip to Penang with a visit to the Kek Lok Si-Temple of Supreme Bliss – one of the largest in south east Asia that is definitely worth a visit.
Most people find themselves here when they are travelling to Thailand as it is known as the 'Gateway to Thailand'. If you explore a little further, you will come across a bustling city overflowing with Malay culture. If you happen to be a culture vulture, there's a variety of royal palaces, museums and markets that will certainly be of interest if you would like to feature an element of traditional Malaysia in your tour.
Tips & Advice
One of the benefits of travelling in an escorted group is that you'll be in good hands for the duration of your trip. However, to help you have an enjoyable holiday in Malaysia, take a look at these useful tips and advice provided by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO):
Health and Travel Insurance
Prior to leaving the UK it is always wise to contact your GP to check whether you need any vaccinations or preventative medication when travelling to Malaysia.
It is important that you have arrange adequate health insurance as the cost of both Government and Private hospitals in Malaysia can be expensive. It is also wise to have access to funds which can be used to cover the cost of medical treatment and in extreme cases, medical repatriation.
If you need to contact the emergency services, simply dial 999 or 112 from a mobile and ask for the ambulance service. If you do get referred to medical facilities for treatment don't forget to advise your insurance company.
As you would when travelling in any country, it is important to take sensible precautions to protect yourself from crime. Common sense prevails; avoid carrying valuables where possible and never open your hotel room door to strangers late at night. Card fraud is widespread so take care when using your card.
Bag snatching can be common, so wear bags across your body facing away from the road to avoid unwanted attention from thieves on motorbikes. If your bag is snatched, let go of the bag - it can be more dangerous to hold on.
When using taxis always unload luggage as soon as you get out to avoid the driver leaving with your luggage.
Never accept a drink from a stranger and always look after your drink at all times. Do not become involved in gambling scams.
Local Laws and Customs
Malaysia consists of many diverse cultures, however predominantly it is an Islamic country. When visiting it is important to respect all laws and customs, especially during Ramadan. Dress sensibly by covering shoulders and legs (women especially), especially when visiting places of worship.
Any type of drug offence (be it possession, use of trafficking) are taken extremely seriously and trafficking of drugs can even result in the death penalty. On arrival into Malaysia you may be asked for a urine sample if you are suspected to have been using drugs – a positive test could mean being deported.
Needless to say that carrying unlicensed firearms or ammunition into Malaysia can also result in the death penalty.
If you're a same-sex couple, it's also worth noting that same-sex public displays of affection or otherwise are illegal in Malaysia.
British nationals will not need a visa to enter Malaysia and you can stay for 3 months from the date of arrival. Stays for longer or for non-tourist purposes will need to be obtained from the Malaysian Diplomatic Mission, before leaving the UK.
Passports should be valid for at least 6 months from the date you enter into Malaysia.
Emergency Travel Documents (ETD) are accepted for entry and exit from Malaysia as well as for airside transit.
In Malaysia being dual nationality isn't recognised and you can be refused entry if you are found to be holding two passports. If in any doubts check before booking.
Any other nationality looking to visit Malaysia must contact the local embassy to check visa requirements.
For more information about visiting Malaysia, you can see the tourist board website at tourism.gov.my